SPEA in Guatemala

Spend your break serving a community in Guatemala while earning course credit

SPEA has partnered with the nonprofit Play360 to offer you a unique spring break opportunity to immerse yourself in Guatemalan culture in a way rarely possible while also earning credit. During your nine days in Guatemala, you will develop your leadership skills and make personal connections with a local community through the building of a playground. At the end of the trip, you will travel to several important and exciting cultural destinations.

Learn more about the SPEA in Guatemala program

March 10 - 18, 2018

V482/V582 – Leadership and Service (1 cr.)

Program Director: Jonathan Racek

The purpose of this one-credit spring break course is to encourage you to carefully analyze your responsibilities and commitments in the context of leadership for the common good and for purposeful change. The course is more than the study of leadership; it is designed to help you develop your own leadership potential. You will participate in a community playground build as an exercise of leadership in action. You will be encouraged to think critically about leadership issues facing our communities and society, to understand the importance of self-knowledge, and to explore how values influence the leadership process. From this course, you will realize that leadership issues permeate every aspect of daily living, and you will embrace the belief that you have the potential to transform your world.

    • Visit Lake Atitlan, one of the most beautiful lakes in the world with its crystalline waters in the crater of a former volcano. Atitlan and the surrounding villages are an ideal place to come in contact with Guatemalan folklore.
    • Hike in the Atitlan Nature Reserve, about 250 acres of native forest on the shores of Lake Atitlan.
    • Spend a day in Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage site founded as the capital of Spanish Guatemala by conquistadors in the 16th century, as well as La Azotea, a coffee plantation located on the outskirts of Antigua.

All IU Bloomington students in good academic standing can apply. However, you should consider the physical and emotional challenges of the trip to ensure the program is a good fit.

You will stay at the Refugio, a facility outside of Quetzaltenango in a beautiful, secure compound. Participants sleep in double occupancy rooms, with one roommate of the same gender. You will be eating breakfasts and most dinners in the compound, with lunch served on the job site.

Play360 asks all program participants to set a fundraising goal of $500 (in addition to the SPEA Abroad program fee) to help cover the cost of playground building materials and reduce the burden on economically challenged communities. Play360 will help you develop your fundraising skills and guide you with ideas for how to meet your goals.

2018 SPEA in Guatemala Program Fee: $750

This includes:

    • All meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
    • Lodging
    • Local transportation
    • Medical insurance
    • Entrance fees for group excursions
    • Guest speakers

IU Tuition

Please Note: If you are enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student during the spring semester and enroll in V482 as part of your block credits, there is no additional tuition cost to participate in SPEA in Guatemala.

Graduate students will pay for one credit-hour of tuition.

Additional Costs

You need to pay for your flight to and from Guatemala, food outside of regular meals, and personal incidentals


The SPEA Abroad Spring Break Scholarship is available to help SPEA students from IUB study abroad. Please visit our scholarship page for eligibility requirements and application deadlines.

Other scholarships are available on a competitive basis.

2018 Course Syllabus

More Information